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Child Soldier Shares His Experiences Fighting in Civil War

By Mark Scott


Buffalo, NY – Former child soldier Ishmael Beah shared his remarkable life story with an audience at the University at Buffalo Wednesday night. His book, "A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier," was published earlier this year.

It was the early 1990s. Ishmael Beah had lost his parents and two brothers in a civil war that ravaged his native country of Sierra Leone. At the age of 13, he was given an AK-47 and was forced to kill or be killed. Beah fought for more than two years before he was saved by UNICEF and was eventually brought to the U-S.

Beah says writing the book was a struggle. But he says it allowed him to come to terms with some deep-seeded feelings. Beah says he felt a duty to speak for all the children who are coerced into fighting.

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